Thiazide diuretic agents lower the urinary excretion of calcium. Their use has been associated with increased bone density, but their role in preventing hip fracture has not been established. We prospectively studied the effect of thiazide diuretic agents on the incidence of hip fracture among 9518 men and women 65 years of age or older residing in three communities. At base line, 24 to 30 percent of the subjects were thiazide users. In the subsequent four years, 242 subjects had hip fractures. The incidence rates of hip fracture were lower among thiazide users than nonusers in each community; the Mantel-Haenszel relative risk of hip fracture, adjusted for community and age, was 0.63 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.46 to 0.86). The protective effect of the use of thiazides was independent of sex, age, impaired mobility, body-mass index, and current and former smoking status; the multivariate adjusted relative risk of hip fracture was 0.68 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.49 to 0.94). Furthermore, the protective effect was specific to thiazide diuretic agents, since there was no association between the use of antihypertensive medications other than thiazides and the risk of hip fracture. These prospective data suggest that in older men and women the use of thiazide diuretic agents is associated with a reduction of approximately one third in the risk of hip fracture.